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Puppy for Sale - 7. Voices

Warning: This chapter deals with the subject of suicide and shows a scene that some might be triggered by. Reader discretion is advised.

I was two days into my lock-down as I referred to it, and to be honest, I wasn't finding it at all bad. In fact, it had given me time to evaluate my future. More and more now, I was starting to imagine a life beyond Greenstone. I pictured walking amongst flowers, going to the shops and trying McDonalds for the first time... yeah, I know, such random things.

Cindy, it was apparent, was avoiding me. I had knocked on her door several times to find out what was going on with her and why she had made this supposed phone call to my father. Finally, on my fourth attempt at trying, she came to her door and told me she needed some space and that she would knock for me when she felt ready. I had known Cindy long enough to realise this was her way of dealing with embarrassment.

As for me, I was feeling optimistic. I had written down some more questions that I wanted to ask Max. In addition, I had made a list of all the things I wanted to do when I got out. I knew that stuff costs money, so I kept most of them simple, like going for ice cream in the summer or trying out ten pin bowling.

Most of what I knew about life came from the TV, sadly. Being at Greenstone, I never got to leave the grounds. Because of that, I never knew what went on outside of its walls. I think that's what scared me most, even more so than meeting my dad's family.

Speaking of my dad, it was now only a few days until I would see him again and, more importantly, only a few days until I could experience leaving here for the weekend. Excitement battled with anxiety for the top spot. What was his wife like, would Steven accept me, did he have a big house, did he keep pets... so many questions that I had forgotten to ask when I last saw him, but it didn't matter. What mattered was, soon I would be able to ask these questions whenever I wanted to, and in some cases, actually see the answers for myself.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

I awoke to pressure on my mattress. My room was pitch black, and I scrambled to find the light switch on my lamp, feeling a sense of terror as to what might be in my room. Finally, I managed to get hold of the wire, and I let my hand travel up it to the small button.

As soon as I pressed it, the room was thrown into a dull yellow light, and I could see Cindy sitting on my bed through my squinting eyes.

"Shhh," she said as I jumped up.

"Cin... Cindy, what time is it?"

"Just after two in the morning, I'm sorry, I had to see you. I was just lying there awake driving myself nuts."

"Cindy, if you get caught in here, we are BOTH history," I whispered, looking over to my door, making sure it was closed.

Cindy didn't reply. She didn't seem to care. Her face told me her mind was troubled, and it was all I could do not to hug her, but I had questions, to only which, she had the answers. I felt mad towards her, but also sad. I wanted to blame her for my outburst, but I knew it was me who was the blame. If the truth be known, my mood had been declining overall since my dad left, and I could not stop it so far. I knew things were going to get worse, even if I did briefly feel good for a moment. I knew the patterns! However, right now, all the thoughts that ran through my head were centred on a phone call... a phone call she had made.

"I did a really silly thing, Puppy," She said, almost starting to cry.

"Yeah, I am just starting to find that out. Do you wanna tell me what you were thinking?"

"Did I get you in trouble?" she asked, deciding to answer my question with one of her own. I wasn't impressed.

"Never mind that, why did you do it, Cindy? You have put yourself, Max and me in a difficult place now."

"I just..." Cindy stopped as if to gather her thoughts. She brushed her long hair out of her face and looked at me. "You're going to leave here, aren't you?"

I sighed. "It's a strong possibility, and I know this is hurting you, even when you say you are happy for me. I'm not stupid, Cindy."

"I just called him because I... Oh, Puppy, I don't know why I called him. Call it Desperation, I guess."

"Listen, I can't imagine what you must be feeling right now. The closest I can get to knowing is thinking about how I feel about a life without you, which is bad enough. But to do what you did was totally the wrong way to go, Cindy. If you had just let me speak to Max, I might have been able to do something."

"I didn't even know you had planned to speak to him, Puppy."

"Well, I hadn't, but after this, I'm thinking that maybe I should have. It's not like I don't know how hard this is for both of us. I guess up to now, I never saw it as an option of you ever coming with me... God, I mean, I don't even know how that would work."

"It's fine, Puppy, it was a stupid idea and a stupid thing to do. However, I hope it doesn't affect our friendship, and I hope you can forgive me."

"Affect our... Cindy, of course, it doesn't. I just wished you had not gone behind my back with this. That's what bothers me because we share everything, including our feelings and issues."

"The thing with your dad was different, Puppy; how could I share that with you?"

"Well, you would have had to, in the end. I mean, how on earth did you think that something like that could stay between you and my dad? It would look a bit strange if he turned up one day to collect you, and no one knew anything about it."

"I didn't think that far ahead. As I said, I just felt desperate. When you left that number on Charlotte's desk, it was just too tempting, and-"

"And did you think by not telling me what you were up to was the right thing to do?"

"Yes... no... I mean, shit, I don't know. I knew you might have found out at some point, but I hoped I could tell you before someone else did. I just didn't have the courage at the time, and I didn't want you to know until after I had done it, I guess."

"Why?" I asked, probably looking perplexed.

"Because I knew you would tell me not to do it."

"Yes, I would have, but as I mentioned, if I knew, it would have also given me the idea to say something to my father instead of what is now a mess.

"And now all that is ruined," Cindy remarked, starting to weep gently.

'Hey, don't cry, it's cool. What did he say anyway?"

"About?"

"Well, I'm assuming you asked to go with me?"

"Oh, well, I sort of did. He was really polite and thoughtful, but I knew that he did not think it could happen after the call finished. It's was only a short call anyway. I told him I had class."

"I'm sorry."

I leaned forward and put my arms around her. I knew how she must have felt. She had felt helpless and made a decision based on desperation, and now, with her plan in tatters, she felt even worse. As I rocked back and forward with her, I wondered what I could do. Even if I did talk to my father about her being adopted, what could he do? It was different for me, I assumed because I was his son, but Cindy? Well, that had to be a more complicated situation and one I doubted my dad would be willing to resolve. After all, it was me he put so much effort into finding.

The situation was complicated, but I knew what the likely outcome was going to be. I wanted Cindy, more than anything, to be happy. Ideally, I wanted her to be happy with me in her life. However, my choices were limited. Either I took the only opportunity I was likely to get and join my father, or sacrifice all of that and stay at Greenstone for the sake of Cindy not being alone. It was an almost impossible situation. By taking the first, I risk... well, everything! By taking the latter, I make Cindy happy, but then run the risk of her finding a family and me being left here by myself.

"So, I never asked what did you say... I mean to my dad, how did you put it, when you called him?"

"I just asked him if I could come and live with you."

I screwed my face up. "What, just like that?"

"Pretty much. I just said if there was a chance, would he take me with you."

"And the answer was not what you wanted, I gather from what you said just now?"

Cindy sighed. "He just said that it wasn't as simple as that, but he would look to speak to the home when he could. I know he wasn't really keen though, I could hear it in his voice. But, as I say, that's about the moment I said I had class. So anyway, he called the home and spoke to Sam Stillworth."

"You know about that?" I asked, oddly surprised.

"You don't think you were the only one who got a grilling, do you?"

"Shit Cindy, I didn't even think to ask you about that. How did it go?"

"I got properly told off. Mr Watson said I could have put myself in danger, but I don't see how."

"Maybe he meant if you generally call strangers."

"But Max isn't a stranger, he's your dad, and I feel like I know him anyway."

"Yeah, but... look, never mind. I'm sorry to hear you got in trouble. I assume there will be no punishment for you?"

"Since I have a clean file, Mr Watson told me he would not pursue it any further as long as your dad chooses not to make a complaint about the call, which apparently he isn't."

"I'm glad to hear it.

I stretched my arms out and produced a massive yawn. It was in no way a hint to Cindy that I was getting tired again, but she seemed to take it as one. Then, tapping my leg, she got up from my bed and kissed me on the cheek.

"Thanks for staying awake and chatting to me. I’m sorry I avoided you; I was just..."

"Embarrassed? Yeah, I know, and it’s cool. I'm glad you are feeling a little better about all of this.

"Do... do you think you can talk to your dad, about me possibly-"

"I'll talk to him, Cindy; I promise I will talk to him," I said, cutting in. Cindy smiled at my answer, but her smile made me feel like I had just given her false hope.

Whoever knew a smile could make you feel so shit!

"I'll see you tomorrow, Puppy, for breakfast. Shall I knock for you?"

"Sure Cindy, you do that."

Cindy opened the door and left my room, quietly closing it behind her. My body was tense until I heard her door close, as only the sound of that told me no one had seen her leave my room.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

The next day, or same morning, whatever way you want to look at it, I joined Cindy for breakfast as we agreed. Unfortunately, I hadn't managed to sleep all that well for the remainder of the night, and in turn, this had left me grumpy as hell.

"What's up with you?" Cindy asked as I swirled around some porridge in my bowl.

"I'm tired and feeling a little unbalanced."

"Have you taken your pills this morning?"

"Yes, Cindy, I have taken my pills!" I snapped.

"Ok, no need to take it out on me. Perhaps you ought to go back to bed for a little while if you feel bad."

"I can't, I have a meeting with Doctor Listern in half an hour, and then we have class remember?"

"I'm sure if you don't feel well, you can skip class, Puppy."

"I don't want to skip class; it's the only time I can get out of my room at the moment."

"True, I guess. Do you fancy going down to the lake later on?"

"I can't remember? I might just do some reading and try and get some more sleep if you don't mind."

"In that case, I might have a go at talking to Leah Jones today; see what I can find out."

"Well, if you do, just try and be tactful. We don't want another repeat of what happened to Billy, do we."

"Man, you are in a bad mood. Quit the sniping at me, will you."

"I'm sorry; I'm just not good company right now."

I got up without saying anything more to Cindy and dumped my bowl on the trolley that housed all the dirty crockery. Then, without saying goodbye, I left through the double doors and headed towards Doctor Listern's office, not even bothering to look back at Cindy. It was nothing against her. I was just in my thoughts and her keeping going on about pills, Leah Jones, my mood and god knows what else? Well, it was grating on me! These things would not have bothered me on a typical day, so I knew something was wrong and why I had decided to visit Doctor Listern early.

On the way upstairs, I could feel my mood and state of mind deteriorating. I wanted to punch a wall; it was starting to feel that bad. But, on the other hand, I knew I couldn't afford to get angry with anyone anymore. Otherwise, Charlotte's comment about my father not wanting me or whatever she was suggesting might start to hold some weight.

As I approached Listern's closed door, I heard this voice. Kick away the stool, it whispered. I coughed and wretched at the haunting sound. It was that voice. The voice I had not heard or had to deal with in four years. I closed my eyes and backed up slowly until my ass hit the wall behind. My fists were clenched, and my mouth was tightly closed, indicating I was under stress. "Na nah mmm hm hm nana", I hummed, praying to God I didn't hear the voice again.

Possibly hearing the sound of my voice, Doctor Listern must have come out of his room because I heard him mutter something before tapping me on the shoulder. I slowly opened my eyes to see him staring at me with a curious look on his face.

"Puppy, is everything ok?"

I didn't say anything. I just closed my eyes again and continued to hum. Then, I felt him slowly take my arm and lead me into his room. Once I heard his door close, a sudden peace washed over me, and I thought I could open my eyes and stop humming.

"Fascinating," Doctor Listern said quietly before shaking his head.

"What?"

"Were you meditating?"

"I was shit scared that's what I was doing... Doctor Listen, that voice is back?"

"Puppy, slow down and let’s deal with one thing at a time. The words you used in the corridor, where did you learn them?"

"Words? No, I was just humming... But, look, I really need to talk to you about that voice, Doctor Listern; you said it would never come back."

"Puppy, I must ask you again, in the corridor, please think hard. Do you remember saying any words."

"No, I told you, I was just humming to get away from that voice; why?"

Doctor Listern shook his head in astonishment. "Latin, Puppy, you used a Latin phrase right in the middle of other words I could not make sense of."

"Doctor Listern, unless I am totally losing it, which after hearing that voice again, I might be, then I assure you, I spoke no words."

"Puppy, I'm concerned. You are showing very mild signs of delusion." Doctor Listern said, quite matter of fact.

"I feel sane, maybe agitated and extremely low, but I don't feel like I'm going crazy."

"Hmm, well, that's the beauty of being crazy, Puppy. The victims of craziness don't realise they are crazy."

"If you are looking to scare me, Doctor, then it’s working... anyway, what was this word I was supposed to have said?"

"Not a word, Puppy, a phrase. You muttered the phrase Semper ad meliora, and it's not something I have heard uttered since I was at University."

"Well, what does it mean? I read in a history lesson that people who spoke Latin were sometimes possessed by the devil or some shit like that."

Doctor Listern laughed, throwing his head back. "Oh no, Puppy, that's just religious nonsense. I am, however, intrigued as to where you learned it and even more curious as to why you don't remember saying it. Anyway, you asked what it meant - roughly translated, it means, always towards better things.

"Always towards better things?"

"Uh-huh, fascinating you would say that. So anyway, tell me about this voice. You are sure it's the same one for a start?"

"Yes, definitely, like twisting wires and a bad radio signal."

"Well, you have been under a lot of stress lately. Perhaps because your mind knows you are afraid of the voice, your subconscious brought it to the surface. It may just have been a one-off Puppy. Or it could be the result of a reduction in your medication."

"A reduction?"

"Yes, Puppy, since you have been Improving on the bipolar side of things and seem altogether happier of late, I decided to reduce your dosage on two of your key drugs."

"Why didn't you tell me? And just for the record, I don't feel happier; in fact I feel suicidal right now." Doctor Listern seemed to brush off my latter comment, I must admit, I had said it many times.

"I didn't tell you because I wanted to see if there was a change, and telling you could act Psychosomatically, giving false results."

"In English, please, Doctor."

"I mean, it could make you think you are getting worse when actually you might not be. Sometimes when people have something taken away from them, they automatically feel loss or feel the change. This is more often the brain playing a trick on them Puppy, and in fact, there is no change whatsoever."

"I think I get it. But even you have to realise that reducing my pills has lead to a change?"

"Mildly, Puppy, yes, but I want to see how things go, your body needs time to adjust to the new pill doses, and it's only normal there will be some changes to your mood. Although speaking Latin involuntarily wasn't on my list of side effects."

"Doctor, am I going to get worse?"

"Puppy, Mental health is a very complicated and delicate condition to treat. As you know, you have multiple issues being managed. Trying to get the correct drugs to manage this is challenging even when dealing with one condition, such as depression. It's a whole different game when you are trying to deal with three or four different kinds. You then also have to make sure that one drug is not interfering with the other, making one condition worse than the next. For instance, speaking Latin and hearing voices. Now both of these I am a little concerned about, and I hope they were just a one-off misfire in your brain, but I will need to monitor this closely with you."

"And I'm not possessed by a demon or anything?"

"Puppy, I prefer to rely on science to explain an unusual phenomenon and not silly legends. I can assure you; you are not possessed by demons, the devil or anything else for that matter. Now tell me more about your anger issues of late. Do you feel they are getting worse?"

"In some ways, yes. Sam was the main cause of the last attack, but I'm confused because everything that has happened lately has been relatively good news, so I don't know why I am feeling angry about stuff."

"Stress, Puppy. Even when we get good, exciting news, it can still bring on stress. You may be seeing the fact you have found your father as a positive thing, but if you look deeply, this revelation has caused you stress. I do think Sam Stillworth's handling of a situation with you lacked empathy, and that is something I have noted with Mr Watson."

"So do you think I'll start feeling better soon because right now I feel so low, and it's like I am not in control?"

"Things take time, Puppy. I can't cure you overnight. Your new drug for bipolar has only been in your system for a few weeks, so that will take a little time to supersede the last drug. All I can recommend is lots of talking, therapy and a continuation of your current drug regime."

I dropped my head in despair. "I just... I just don't want to feel like this."

Doctor Listern stepped towards me and placed his hands upon my shoulders. "I will give you an increased dose of Diazepam for two weeks to dampen the anxiety, Puppy, but I am not a fan of this drug, I'll be honest."

"I hate taking any pills, Doc, but right now, I'll do anything and take anything."

Whether it was my current state of mind or the fact Doctor Listern was running out of ideas, I felt today's meeting with him did nothing for me. Instead, I felt helpless and lower than I think I had felt since I self-harmed a few years ago. It was an inescapable and terrifying feeling that tore away at the fabric of my soul.

"I would suggest you go and get some sleep, Puppy."

"I can't, I have class, and before you tell me to skip it, I don't want to."

"Very well. But make sure you get an early night and rest. You have a big weekend coming up, and you know you'll want to be in good mental shape for that."

I nodded and left his room, closing the door behind me. The dull hum of children echoed throughout the building, and I could hear Charlotte shouting at one of them. As I wandered droopily along the corridor, I saw Mr Watson coming out of his room and heading towards me. "For fuck's sake, what now" I muttered under my breath.

"Ah, Puppy, Just the person. Will you come into my office, please; I need to inform you of something."

"Yes, ok," I replied softly.

Inside Mr Watson's office, he didn't bother sitting down in his chair. Instead, he perched on the edge of his desk.

"Puppy, I have received a phone call from your father. He says he is very sorry, but he will have to cancel your stay over the weekend as he and his wife seem to be having issues with their other son Steven. He said he would contact you in the week to explain."

That was about all I could take, and in a rare explosion of emotion, I burst into tears... uncontrollable tears. I didn't wait for any more from him; instead, I just got up and left for my room. Mr Watson tried to coax me back into his but knew quickly it wasn't a good idea; after learning from Sam Stillworth what happens when you push me too far.

I got to my room and slammed the door. I began pacing, up and down, up and down. I really did feel like I was going crazy. Was I slipping into a manic episode? No, this time it felt different... this time, it was worse than mania. The truth was I had literally had enough of life itself.

Just when I thought things could not get any worse, I heard it again. Push the stool away, it said. "Fuck off, fuck off, fuck off," I hissed. Then, eyeing the chair in my room, a strange peace came over me. I stopped pacing and stared at it for a moment before going up to the end window in my room. Reaching up, I allowed the lever that opened the window to flip off the catch revealing a protruding metal stump. Once again, I closed my eyes and started to hum my little song, which I always used to do when hearing the voice.

All worries were now fading as I positioned my chair up against the wall by the end window, still humming. Slowly and dreamily, I undid my belt and removed it from my jeans. Making sure it was steady, I climbed up on the chair and fashioned a large loop out of my belt before connecting the buckle end to the window catch.

More and more peace was starting to wash over me, and serene pictures were floating within my mind. Manoeuvring my head, I slotted it into the belt loop and stood there. Once again, I closed my eyes and began to hum. I was waiting... waiting because I knew I would hear it soon, it would just be a matter of time, and after less than a minute? There it was... push the stool away.

So I did!

Clink!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Sitting with my arms folded in bed, I watched the cleaning lady come round with her mop and bucket, quickly filling the room with a bleach-like smell. To my right was a window looking out over what appeared to be a large parking lot. A few trees scattered the area, and I could see a canal off into the distance.

To my left was a young boy, probably around my age with a breathing mask on. He was sleeping, and my mind floated through different ideas as to why he might be here. I knew one thing was for sure, though... unlike mine, his reasons were probably not of his own doing.

Just as the cleaning lady exited through the double doors to my ward, a familiar face came in that I had recognised when I first woke up. It was my doctor and the man who had first spoken to me. I wondered where the people from Greenstone were. There appeared to be no Mr Watson, no Doctor Listern... where were all of those people?

My neck was currently very sore along with my throat, but I managed to keep my eyes locked on the doctor as he picked up a chart belonging to the boy next to me. He began to record some information before slotting it back in its holder at the end of the bed and sliding his pen back into his white coat.

"Ah, good morning Jensen, and how are we this morning?"

"Sore," I replied in a husky voice.

Pulling out a small torch, the doctor bent down and looked closely at my neck.

"Hmm, colour is changing to a nice purple," he muttered, more to himself. "Well, Jensen, aside from a lovely bruise there, I think you will make a full recovery. Although I agree, it will be sore for a while."

"Doctor, where is everyone... I mean the people from my home?"

"Oh, well, someone will be round to talk with you Jensen, I don't know the details, but it appears your father has prohibited any visitors at the current time, and we are obliged to respect his wishes."

"My father?" I repeated, screwing my face up with surprise. The doctor just smiled, I guess not thinking he could give an answer to that.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

Most of the day, I drifted in and out of sleep. The times when I have been awake, I just lay there confused. No one had said anything to me, and apart from the odd nurse coming into the room, I had not seen anyone. I wanted to find out what was going on, but every time I asked someone where my carers were, I was given a blank look.

Letting my head slowly drop sideways, trying to avoid any sharp pain, I just stared out of the window again. I could see the low sun in the distance, telling me it must have been getting on for late afternoon. After that, my mind wandered aimlessly, every now and again being disturbed by the fact I wanted to go to the toilet. I wasn't sure when the last time I went, but just as I thought about doing something about that, the double doors opened to the room, and a voice I knew sounded out.

"Jensen! Thank god, you're awake," it said. I slowly moved my head back towards the sound and saw a distraught looking Max staring at me from just inside the doorway.

"MAX!" I cried, probably waking the poor guy up in the next bed. "I'm... I'm really sorry," I said, starting to well up in a surge of emotion.

Max rushed over to my bed and threw his arms around me. His face was cold as it touched mine, probably from being outside, but I didn't care; I just fell into a sense of contentment hugging him. Eventually, he broke our embrace and pulled up a chair, sitting real close to my bed. The love I had first seen in his eyes and face was now turning to a look of seriousness, and I knew questions were to follow that.

"Jensen, I..." he started but obviously wasn't sure how to continue. "Jensen, why? Why did you do such a silly thing?"

I lightly shrugged. "I couldn't see a way out" was all I could think of, to sum up how I had felt.

"A way out?"

I sighed. "I just hit rock bottom, and I know this is gonna sound stupid, but I thought if I wasn't here anymore, the pain would go away."

"You're in pain?" Max asked, not getting me, it seemed.

"Not that kind of pain Max, it was a kind of lost hope pain. Basically, I didn't want to feel the way I was feeling anymore. I was desperate... so desperate for an outlet."

"But Jensen, I mean, we have just connected, wouldn't that count for something?"

"You don't understand Max, the way I was feeling wasn't something that could be cured by anything. My dream has come true in you finding me, sure, but the way I felt right at that moment, all the dreams I have ever had could have all come true at once, and it still wouldn't have taken away the despair I felt."

Max nodded. "I think I get it,"

"I guess I'm in big trouble, right?"

"Everything is sorted, Jensen. You are not to blame for any of this. I have been at Greenstone for most of the day. I came by to see you earlier, but you were asleep, so I thought I would go and-"

"Sorted?" I asked, wondering what that meant.

Max looked to gather his thoughts. "Let's just say that you will not be going back to Greenstone Jensen."

"What? I mean... you mean it? How did you..."

"Never mind that right now, the main thing is that you get better and out of here. Then, we can talk about all of this when you have recovered."

"Max I need to know some things. What... what about Cindy?"

"Cindy? Oh, the girl you’re are friends with. You know Jensen, you have a lot to thank her for, so I was told she was the one who found you and got help."

"Part of me wishes she hadn't," I said solemnly.

"Jensen, why would you say such a thing? You have so much to live for, especially now."

"I don't know; it’s just the way I feel, I guess. I know that sounds really bad, Max."

"Look, I don't pretend to sit here and understand how you feel or why you would think it's bad enough to end your life, but I am going to prove to you that whatever happens from now on, I will be here for you." Max ran his hands down his face. "You know, I blame myself for this."

"Why?" I asked.

"Well, according to your doctor at the home, you had been making real progress and that all seemed to change when I contacted you."

"No, Max, it's not like that, not like that at all. It's just a lot has happened... a lot of stressful things, and I haven't dealt with that very well."

"Mr Watson told me you were very cut up when he passed on the message I couldn't have you over to stay the weekend. I’m sorry I should have handled that better myself. I have a hunch that was part of your despair?"

I looked down, away from Max. "Maybe, but I don't want you thinking that's you're fault. It was a lot of things all at once."

A tear ran down Max's cheek. I wish I hadn't admitted that last statement. "At the time, I thought I was doing the right thing for everyone, but in hindsight, I should have kept to my plan. Instead, I’ve only made it worse by not having you come over."

"Perhaps, though I gotta admit, I was looking forward to it, and I thought maybe you were having second thoughts about me."

"Oh God, no, Jensen, that is so far from the truth. The choice I made, although hard, was totally with you in mind. Steven has been playing up, and I didn't want to have you in an environment where it would feel like you were not wanted. I just needed more time to talk to Steven, and I thought while that happened, it was better to postpone your visit."

"Is he really against me coming to stay?"

"It's complicated with him, Jensen. He's been used to having his parents all to himself. As I said, maybe I haven't handled this very well with either of you. I was just really excited about finding you and those feelings probably got in the way of my judgement. When Steven found out you were coming to stay, he felt like you were taking me away from him. But this is my fault because I should have had a proper discussion with him about it, which at the time I hadn't."

"I can kind of see why he would think that. I don't want to cause any trouble, Max."

"Nonsense Jensen, you are not to blame here, nor are you any trouble at all."

I should have felt a little better hearing that, but I didn't. This was all such a mess, and I really wanted to press the rewind button on the last few days.

"Do you know when I can get out of here?"

Max smiled. "I would hope later today. The doctors gave you a scan when you first came in, and there does not appear to be any damage done, so it's just a case of seeing how you were when you woke up."

"Hmm, and where do I go when I do get out?"

Max looked at me, wearing a baffled expression. "Sorry, what do you mean?"

"Well, you said I wouldn’t be going back to Greenstone... where will I be going?"

"To stay with us, of course."

"But I thought you said, Steven..."

"I would have liked more time to sort things out with him, I'll admit Jensen, but I am not allowing you to go back to a home that has failed you, and as for Doctor Listern, that man has a lot to answer for in all of this."

"Doctor Listern?" I asked, not seeing how he was to blame.

"I have seen your medical files, Jensen. I don't know what half of it means, but I took copies and showed them to a doctor friend of mine, Doctor Paul Burrows, and he says Doctor Listern has you on pills that don't make sense for your condition. Also, he noted that your dosages were being adjusted too often, which wasn't giving your body time to adjust."

"Is that why I have been feeling all over the place lately?"

"Maybe, I'm not an expert Jensen, and I don't know the full details of what went on in the home."

"Why not? You saw my case records, right?"

"No, Jensen, I saw your medical records. Charlotte Grange was very keen for me to look over the case records, but I didn't want to. I wasn't interested."

"But why Max?"

"Because I want to get to know you and find out who you are at face value and not rely on a load of forms and records. Besides, it was quite funny seeing Charlotte's face when I refused to read them. For some reason, she seemed pretty keen."

"Yeah, I can see why that would be."

"Don't worry, Jensen, I am aware you have not been an angel; hell, who is? But I know the reasons why so it doesn't matter to me."

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

It was getting on for nine in the evening, and Max had left about an hour ago. It turned out that I would be staying overnight for monitoring as my neck was still pretty swollen, and the doctors wanted to make sure this wasn't going to affect my breathing while I slept. I got the feeling Max didn't mind my extended stay as he referred to the fact he wanted to have a proper discussion with his son. I was cool with that. In fact, I preferred that he did. The last thing I wanted to do was cause more hassle than it seemed I already had.

One thing that was bothering me now was how people would feel about me. What about his wife? I wondered if she visioned some crazy nutcase who tried to commit suicide now and again. I almost wanted to call her and explain.

There were still lots of questions I wanted to ask my father as well. It seemed every time I got near an opportunity; something would come up, such as having a belt removed from my neck. But, having written them all down this time, I knew that at least I wouldn't forget them when the next opportunity came.

Max had agreed to collect all my stuff from the home within the next few days. I asked if I could go with him to see Cindy. I felt like I owed her an explanation and an apology. In fact, I owed her my life, and that wasn't something I would be able to pay back. I wanted to see if there was any chance of her coming to live with me, but what with the Steven issue, I couldn't see a chance of that happening anytime soon. It was going to be heart-breaking saying goodbye to her, I and it was a conversation I wasn't relishing.

Copyright © 2021 James Matthews; All Rights Reserved.
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Poor Puppy reaching rock bottom. At least Max as his father has stepped in. Interesting comments from Max's Doctor about Puppy's medical file and all the drugs he is on. I hope Puppy is allowed to continue seeing Cindy.

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Thanks for posting this so soon after the last chapter!  I'm glad Max has gotten someone to review Puppy's medical records.  I'm sure Dr. Listern has done the best he could, but Puppy is perhaps more complicated (or not) than he can see by himself.  That is why there needs to be a team review periodically.  I would prefer if Steven came to the hospital to see Puppy/Jensen and meet him there first.  But I am eager to see the next chapter!  I can't put down this story when I see a posting!

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4 minutes ago, pvtguy said:

Thanks for posting this so soon after the last chapter!  I'm glad Max has gotten someone to review Puppy's medical records.  I'm sure Dr. Listern has done the best he could, but Puppy is perhaps more complicated (or not) than he can see by himself.  That is why there needs to be a team review periodically.  I would prefer if Steven came to the hospital to see Puppy/Jensen and meet him there first.  But I am eager to see the next chapter!  I can't put down this story when I see a posting!

Awww, thanks Pvtguy. Yeah, I post as quick as the site allows me, which is two chapters a day. A couple of people seem to break that rule I think, but I think the current system is fair like this.

Thanks for the kind comment. I love it too when you read a story you can't put down. I took a day of work once years ago I was that addicted to a story. Bad eh? haha

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This is a new beginning for Jensen.  It may be time to retire (Puppy)!   Let hope for the best with Steven's acceptance of a new half-brother!

It's a great story - thank you James

 

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27 minutes ago, KayDeeMac said:

This is a new beginning for Jensen.  It may be time to retire (Puppy)!   Let hope for the best with Steven's acceptance of a new half-brother!

It's a great story - thank you James

 

Awww thanks KayDeeMac, and you're welcome. I love this story too. (in a non vain way haha)

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All through this chapter I’ve been wondering if maybe the mafia are paying for Puppy to be kept in the home and that now his father has found him they are desperate to find ways to keep him there. One of the things that has made me suspicious all along is how little Puppy knows about the outside world. Surely any proper children's home would take them on visits and trips and try to make sure any long term residents don’t get institutionalized?

 

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